Don't Throw Away Your Film Camera

Recently I have been scanning some old negatives from 1988 and have discovered quite a few nice photos. With film going out of style the temptation is to sell the old film camera for a song or even give it away. I tried that with an Olympus XA but found that that camera is not marketable unless it is in perfect condition. It is increasingly difficult to find batteries that work in old cameras such as the Olympus XA and Konica TC Autoreflex. Sometimes I have to use my Canon A640 to act as a light meter for my film cameras since the light meters might not work with the button batteries they make these days. Color print film has some latitude so it might work better with a cranky old camera.

Now onto the issue of film cameras-I have found that film tends to capture more of the intermediate colors or pastel colors as opposed to digital. Most people are aware that film uses three layers to capture color as opposed to digital that only uses a one layer bayer sensor and then interpolates color as needed. The Foevon chip made by Sigma uses a three layer setup similar to film but I have not had a chance to use this type of camera.

Most of my film shots were done with 200-400 ISO 35MM print film such as Kodak, Agfa, and Fuji. I always scan at max resolution which is around 7356X3752 with a a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 scanner-this is a dedicated film scanner. I wind up with a tiff file of about 108MB. I then downsize the file to 3500X2800 to ensure sharpness at 100% saving a new file in JPEG yet keeping the original tiff, add saturation, contrast etc. as well some minor retouching. Automatic dust spot removal only gets some of the dust not all. After that I run my photos through noise ninja with sharpness set at 40% and luminance and smoothness slider bars at -10 each. This seems to get rid of some of the noise without degrading sharpness.

If you got some negatives and slides, start scanning, you might be surprised at what you find. There is not much sense in selling film cameras or darkroom equipment since no one will give you anything for it. Start digging out those shoe boxes-you might be surprised at what you find. Try some film photography even though it will cost you a little money-you might be pleased with the results.

Photo credits: Richard Gunion.

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